Russian Hall of Fame
Russian Hall of Fame
The house where the Big Red Machine lives
The hockey museum was created as part of the Park of Legends project, which also includes the Ice Palace – this arena will host the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
“We have long waited for our museum to open. But it only happens step-wise as the building is unique. It is already a hundred years old. The Likhacheva automobile factory used to be located there. We are restoring it and it needs time. We have only opened the lower floors,” said Olympic champion and six-time world champion, deputy director general of the Park of Legends, Vladimir Myshkin.
“But most importantly, we managed to open the Hall of Fame and the exposition for the World Championship for the 70-year anniversary of Russian ice hockey. There will be different events for the World Championship. The players of the Russian national team will be announced here on Wednesday. Many autograph sessions will be held here with famous hockey players. But this is just the beginning. We shall open the other halls later and in the end our Hall of Fame will be better than the one in Toronto.”
“Really?” two-times Olympic Champion and seven-times world champion Vyacheslav Fetisov asked Myshkin looking surprised at him. “I don’t know. Try. You have much to do for that.”
The great defender can actually compare – he has been accepted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, the IIHF Hall of Fame and in the Russian Hall of Fame.
“It is a very important event for our country,” noted Fetisov. “It was impossible to create the museum until the veterans took the matter in hand. Their efforts brought up this Park of Legends and the great palace was built. And now we will have the most popular museum in Russia. Of course, we need time for that...”
A bold statement, given that Russia already has the Hermitage, the Diamond Fund, the Tretyakov Gallery. But if even a third of what was said becomes true, the museum will definitely be great.
“Every year, the advisory board will choose no more than three new members into our Hall of Fame. The selection will include six categories: players, coaches, referees, functionaries, journalists and public figures who helped the development of hockey,” Fetisov said. “Each member of the board has the right to nominate no more than three representatives from all categories once a year.”
13 people can elect new members: Alexander Yakushev, Vyacheslav Fetisov, Vladislav Tretiak, Alexei Kasatonov, Sergei Makarov, Pavel Bure, Vitali Davydov, Boris Mikhailov, Alexander Kozhevnikov, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, Vyacheslav Bykov, Vsevolod Kukushkin and Sergei Gimayev. The ceremony will be held once a year – two weeks before the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. This year it will be held in summer before the beginning of the KHL season.
The exhibition “The Red Machine. Race for gold” has been opened on the second floor. The press was led by Vsevolod Kukushkin, a famous journalist who presented his book with the same name – “The Red Machine”.
“Do you know how this nickname, which got tied to our hockey, got to be?” asked Kukushkin. “It happened in January 1983. Our players were finishing their tour in North America. They arrived in Minneapolis. We open the papers and see the headline: ‘The Red Machine rolled down on us.’
“Head Coach Viktor Tikhonov got angry: ‘Why are we compared to a machine? We are people!’ And our players arrived for an American football game, the Minnesota Vikings were playing. I tell him: ‘Why are you asking me? Here is the journalist who wrote the article, sitting right here.’
“’Call him!’ shouted Tikhonov. The American reporter came over and explained that there was a baseball team in Detroit, which was called the Red Machine. Because Detroit is the city of motors and this club plays really well as a perfect mechanism. That is where this nickname came from. ‘Aha,’ Tikhonov said. ‘If that is the case, then, fair enough.’
“Only then, in his next article, the journalist called us ‘The Big Red Machine’, so as not to mistake us with the baseball team of Detroit.”
Kukushkin also told about a different Tikhonov, about Alexander, a four-time Olympic champion in biathlon.
“Can you see the fur-coat in the corner? Vladimir Petrov gave it to us. The Russian national team went around in fur-coats for the Olympic Games of 1972 in Sapporo. The whole world saw how everyone was dressed for the opening ceremony of the Winter Games. Our team looked like the richest of them all.
“It was hot. These fur coats were piled up in the dressing room. Once, Alexander Tikhonov got into the pile. He hid there because he really wanted to see how the Soviet national team prepares and what it is told by the coach. Tikhonov was ultimately discovered and he was even brought to the bench. He was standing there. The game was on. Yevgeni Mishakov came over and screamed out loud: ‘Give me a stick! Quick!’ Tikhonov was so excited that he took the first stick he found and handed it to our forward. The latter went on for an attack, scored, came back to the bench... and swore at him. Because the stick was with a right bend of the hook, and Mishakov played with a left bend for his whole life. That is how it is!”
During the World Championship any fan can visit the Hall of Fame Museum. It is very easy to find since the building on the right hand side of the central entrance to the Ice Palace.
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